Judge Andrew Napolitano on Chaotic Courts and ‘Unconstitutional’ Justice in the United States
Interview with Scott Smith
Introduction: Judge Andrew P. Napolitano joined FOX News Channel (FNC) in January 1998 and currently serves as the senior judicial analyst. He provides legal analysis on both FNC and FOX Business Network (FBN). He is also a fill in co-host for “FOX & Friends” regularly and co-hosts FOX News Radio’s Brian and The Judge show daily and is host of FreedomWatch on Foxnews.com. Judge Napolitano is the youngest life-tenured Superior Court judge in the history of the State of New Jersey. While on the bench from 1987 to 1995, Judge Napolitano tried more than 150 jury trials and sat in all parts of the Superior Court – criminal, civil, equity and family. He has handled thousands of sentencings, motions, hearings and divorces. For 11 years, he served as an adjunct professor of constitutional law at Seton Hall Law School, where he provided instruction in constitutional law and jurisprudence. Judge Napolitano returned to private law practice in 1995 and began television broadcasting in the same year. Judge Napolitano has written five books: Constitutional Chaos: What Happens When the Government Breaks Its Own Laws; a New York Times bestseller, The Constitution in Exile: How the Federal Government Has Seized Power by Rewriting the Supreme Law of the Land; A Nation of Sheep; Dred Scott’s Revenge: A Legal History of Race and Freedom in America; and his most recent book is another New York Times bestseller, Lies the Government Told You: Myth, Power and Deception in American History.
Daily Bell: Thanks for visiting with us. Tell us a little bit about your background, where you grew up and how you became interested in being a judge.
Judge Napolitano: I was born in Newark NJ, attended public schools, spent my sophomore year in high school as a page in the U.S. House of representatives and attended the private school for pages in the Library of Congress. I’m a graduate of Princeton University and the University of Notre Dame Law School. My academic interest in the law drew me away from private practice toward the judiciary. I received my initial appointment from Governor Tom Kane and my lifetime appointment from Governor Christine Todd Whitman.
Daily Bell: How did you make the leap to FOX News?
Judge Napolitano: At the time that I left the bench, something that rarely occurs during a lifetime appointment – and with the permission of the Chief Justice – I held a press conference in which I blasted judicial salaries. I also blasted the inability of judges to supplement their income by doing teaching and writing. One of the people that happily read the interview was the then President of CNBC, who called me up and said, “Now we’re about to cover this crazy trial in California and I thought about putting a judge on TV to second guess this judge.” Then he asked me “Maybe you have heard of him, his name is Lance Ido?” Of course it was the OJ Simpson trial and I ended up covering it four-days a week for 13 months. The President of CNBC would go on to become the founder of FOX; it was Roger Ailes. He was the one, of course, who brought me over.
Daily Bell: You are more libertarian than conservative and obviously a friend of Ron Paul’s. When did you get to know Ron Paul and learn about the Austrian, free-market school?
Judge Napolitano: I got to know Ron Paul over the past four or five years when after a couple of interviews on air, he invited me to spend a little time with him and some other Congressman in DC and discuss the Constitution over dinner. My attraction to the Austrian view of economics was generated early on in my college years when I rebelled against the Keynesian Economics being taught at Princeton and just about everywhere else. I couldn’t put an exact date on either of these events for you but one is about 5 years ago and the other is about 35 years ago.
Daily Bell: Would you classify yourself as an Austrian?